Living with Tourette's and looking for work?

Here are our best tips on finding stable and secure employment.

In this guide to Tourette syndrome and employment, you will find information about:

  • What Tourette syndrome is
  • How Tourette's may affect someone's work life
  • Is Tourette's considered a disability?
  • How to find work with Tourette syndrome
  • How to manage in the workplace
  • Where to get help if you need it

What is Tourette syndrome?

Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder – a disorder of the nervous system. It causes people to have involuntary movements or noises called 'tics' which the person cannot control.

Tics can be physical (motor) or vocal;

  • Motor tics are uncontrollable body movements.
  • Examples include things like jerking the neck, stamping the feet or shrugging the shoulders.
  • Vocal tics are involuntary sounds or words.
  • Examples include repetitive throat clearing, making barking noises, humming or yelling out a word.

Tics are usually classified as either simple tics or complex tics;

  • Simple tics involve one part of the body.
  • For example, squinting the eyes or shrugging the shoulders.
  • Complex tics involve more than one part of the body and may be repeated in a pattern.
  • For example, grimacing and shrugging the shoulders or hopping up and down.

Tourette symptoms affect everyone differently.

Tics usually appear between the ages of 2 and 21. For some people, tics become less frequent and may even stop altogether over time. For others, tics may increase in frequency or intensity during times of stress.

Some people can control their tics for a short period of time, but when this happens most people describe a feeling of their tic 'building up' until it needs to be expressed.

Many people living with Tourette syndrome also live with other disorders or conditions which can affect their daily life such as:

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety
  • Problems with sleep

Can you get a job with Tourette’s?

Many people living with Tourette syndrome have a successful and rewarding work life.

Everyone's experience is different. For some people, Tourette symptoms do not greatly affect their job, or capacity to work. For others, Tourette symptoms and other co-occurring conditions may present challenges in the workplace.

With the right support and access to workplace adjustments, many of the challenges can be overcome.

For many people with Tourette syndrome, having a job is highly beneficial. Not only does it improve your financial situation, it can give you a sense of purpose and help you connect with others in a meaningful way.

If you are living with Tourette syndrome and want to work, support is available.

APM helps thousands of job seekers every week overcome their challenges and find meaningful work.

Is Tourette’s considered a disability?

In Australia, Tourette syndrome is considered a disability if it affects a person's daily life. If your symptoms are making it difficult to find a job or manage in the workplace, you could be eligible for Disability Employment Services.

Disability Employment Services is a government funded program which supports people living with injury, medical condition or disability to find employment and thrive in the workplace.

APM is Australia's largest provider of Disability Employment Services. We can help you with career advice, finding work and accessing workplace modifications to help you succeed in your job.

Register for Disability Employment Services with APM today to get started.

Tourette syndrome and employment

Your interests, skills and experience

When deciding what jobs might be a good fit for you, consider your skills, interests and past experience as well as your limitations and challenges.

Ask yourself:

  • What benefits can my skills and experience bring to a workplace?
  • Are there any workplace modifications or technologies that might help me overcome my challenges?

Choosing a career

Talking with an employment consultant can help you discover what careers and jobs might be a good fit for you. An employment consultant can also help you discover opportunities you may not have considered.

Training and qualifications

Consider the different pathways you can take towards your ideal career. You may be eligible for some jobs based on your past experience and skills.

For other roles, you may need to have further training and education. In some roles you can train on the job, while others you will need a degree or qualification first.

Searching and applying for jobs

There are many ways to find job opportunities including:

  • Searching on online employment websites
  • Looking on specific company websites
  • Asking people you know
  • Approaching a company or business directly
  • Registering for Disability Employment Services with APM

Find out more about searching for work in APM's article How to find a job.

Preparing for job interviews

Job interviews can be daunting, but with the right preparation and practice, you can go into an interview with confidence. Check out APM's job interview tips for more information.

Managing in the workplace with Tourette syndrome

Everyone will have different needs when it comes to Tourette syndrome and employment support. If you are finding it challenging to cope in the workplace, APM can help you access workplace modifications to feel confident in your job.

Examples of workplace modifications include:

  • Changing job tasks - For example, removing high stress tasks or working with one other person instead of in a large group.
  • Restructuring the workstation – This could include changing the seating arrangements, moving the location of the workstation or getting assistive technologies in.
  • Reduce distractions - Noise cancelling headphones, a quiet office space and natural lighting can all help minimise distractions and improve concentration.
  • Breaks and time off - An employer might provide a safe and private break room where the employee can practice self care.
  • Work schedule - Part time work or a flexible work schedule may help with managing symptoms.
  • Remote work - Some employers may allow working from home for part or all of the working week.

Need help finding work or managing in the workplace? APM is here for you.

Everyone has different needs and goals when it comes to Tourette syndrome and employment.

At APM, we take a personal, tailored approach to employment services. When you register with us, a dedicated Employment Consultant will work closely with you so that you get the right support for you.

We can help you with:

  • Career planning
  • Accessing training
  • Accessing mental health services
  • Finding suitable job opportunities
  • Writing resumes and job applications
  • Preparing for interviews
  • Regular ongoing support in your new job
  • Accessing workplace modifications
  • Accessing funding for things like transport and work uniforms

If you are ready to get to work, APM is here for you.

Register for Disability Employment Services today and let's get to work.